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Packer Partisan (01/09/2008)
By Dave DeLano

Packers Prepare for Play-offs

While the Packer Partisan and staff were vacationing in Mazatlan, Mexico, o ver the holidays, the Packers dropped a stinker in Chicago but rebounded nicely with an easy victory against the hapless Lions. Mexican cable TV actually carried the Packer-Lion game and it was interesting to hear the commentary in Spanish. The regular season efforts in 2007 have resulted in a 13 - 3 record, which greatly exceeds anyone's expectations for the NFL's youngest team.

Mike McCarthy should been awarded NFL coach of the year, had the New England Patriots not had a 16 - 0 season. But McCarthy didn't cheat like the coach from Massachusetts did and just maybe the Packers will get a shot at the Patriots in a couple weeks.

The Packers' second seed position in the NFC gave them a bye in the first week of play-off action. As it turns out, it will be Mike Holmgren's Seattle Seahawks who will invade Lambeau next week. Seattle has a good but not great team. They beat the Washington Redskins to advance to action against the Pack and will be a good challenge.

Holmgren's return to Green Bay is always interesting. Holmgren, of course, led the Packers to their 1996 Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots. It was the combination of Coach Holmgren and General Manager Ron Wolfe that led the Packers back into prominence in the 1990s, and most Cheeseheads still have mixed feelings about Holmgren's departure from Green Bay.

Personally, I think Holmgren is a great football coach and whenever the Seahawks are playing someone other than the Packers, I root for them. I was standing along the sidelines with the "railbirds" one hot mid-1990s training-camp day when none other than Mike Holmgren himself actually approached me and asked how I was doing. That made my day!

Mike McCarthy likely won't make a lot of radical changes with next Saturday's game plan. The Seahawk defense is talented with a good pass rush and one of the best pass defenders in the league, Marcus Trufant. If the Packers can keep the heat off Brett Favre, I think the Packers' talented and deep receiver corps can score points. Ryan Grant should also be able to contribute on the ground.

Methinks the Packer defense matches up pretty well against the Seahawk offense so it should be a heck of a game. The weather will likely be a factor the second week in January. Look for a reasonably low-scoring game in which the crowd also becomes a factor.

What a fantastic season this one has been to date. I was thinking in Mexico about what the Pack needs to do to upgrade the squad next year. I couldn't think of any glaring needs, which is the first time in years that I have had that thought! Cheeseheads will hopefully get treated to a couple more weeks of Packer entertainment before we start thinking about next year. 


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